Author Archive

Obenshain Calls on Governor Northam to Fully Lift Statewide Mask Mandate

May 14, 2021

CONTACT:  Connor Smith

PHONE: (904) 235-3562

EMAIL:  connor@markobenshain.com

Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) released the following statement in response to Governor Northam’s limited modifications to his statewide mask mandate lifting it in some circumstances and only for those adults who are fully vaccinated.

“At this point, everyone in Virginia has had an opportunity to sign up for a vaccination. Virginians can be trusted to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a mask.”

“States like Texas and Florida lifted their mask mandates and reopened their states nearly 3 months ago – after their states’ most vulnerable citizens had an opportunity to secure vaccinations. And they did it without experiencing the surge predicted by the liberal political class and pundits. We need to quit succumbing to crazy pseudo-science and the political weaponization of COVID.”

“Common sense, experience, and science have converged here, yet Governor Northam has persisted in his stubborn refusal to adopt anything but half measures. I am calling on the Governor to end the mask mandate in its entirety, to trust Virginians to make the right choices for themselves and their families.”

“Remember that the mandate covers anyone 5 years or older. Lifting the mask mandate for only those who have been vaccinated still leaves it in place for 5-year-olds, despite a total lack of science to support masking kindergarteners – or at least they would be kindergarteners if the Governor would reopen schools.  The Governor should lift the mask mandate, in its entirety, and proceed to reopen Virginia – now.”

###

Senator Obenshain’s Endorsements

May 7, 2021

Wondering who Senator Obenshain has endorsed for the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia Nominating Convention? Check out below!

Governor: Pete Snyder

Suzanne and I have known Pete and Burson for a long time. I was proud to serve on the board of the organization they founded last year to help struggling small businesses called VA30 Fund.

Pete’s a successful business owner himself and has what it takes to beat the Democrats in November. Find out more about Pete at www.PeteSnyder.com

Lieutenant Governor: Tim Hugo

Honorable Tim Hugo | The Livingston Group, L.L.C.

Tim has been a conservative anchor in bluer and bluer Northern Virginia for years and he’s never wavered in his conservative ideals. He’s exactly who we need presiding over our Senate and standing up for the Republican Party. Find out more about Tim at www.TimHugo.com

Attorney General: Jason Miyares

Jason Miyares - Wikipedia

Jason is the proven Conservative we need as our next Attorney General. He has worked to put criminals behind bars, protected our 2A rights & will bring accountability to our elections. Join me in voting for Jason Miyares on 5/8. Find out more about Jason at www.jasonmiyares.com

2021 Republican Party of Virginia Nominating Convention

April 29, 2021

Wondering where to vote next Saturday, May 8 for the Republican Party of Virginia Nominating Convention? See below for more info!

You will be voting for the following offices:

  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Attorney General

Polls are open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

If you live in Harrisonburg City or Rockingham County, you vote at:

Augusta County Parks and Rec

18 Gov Center Lane

Verona, VA 24482

If you live in Page, Shenandoah, or Warren County, you vote at:

Shenandoah County Fairgrounds

300 Fairground Road

Woodstock, VA 22664

If you live in Rappahannock County, you vote at:

Madison County High School

68 Mountaineer Lane

Madison, VA 22727

Editorial: Thorough review of parole board events needed

April 28, 2021

By THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT & DAILY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT |APR 27, 2021 AT 6:15 PM

It’s been evident for months that a thorough, transparent investigation into the actions and procedures of the Virginia Parole Board is not only warranted, but necessary to ensure public confidence in that agency.

How to conduct such an inquiry focused on public safety without it devolving into partisan, political grandstanding is less certain. But given the need for clarity over how the board made its decisions, with an eye toward clarifying procedures going forward, Virginia officials should find a workable solution.ADVERTISING

The parole board is accused of a host of errors in its decisions last year to grant parole to several individuals convicted of violent felonies. A report by the Office of the State Inspector General found the board did not follow state law in notifying victims’ families or prosecutors, and did not keep accurate minutes of its meetings, among other missteps.

That controversy, already simmering, reached a boil when the OSIG released a report about the matter that was so heavily redacted that it was all but unreadable. Instead of transparency and insight into what happened, the public received pages of blacked-out text.

PAID POST

What Is This?

The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are Overcharging You

The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are Overcharging You

How many times have we fallen for this?SEE MORE

Sponsored Content by The Penny Hoarder

Predictably, that only raised more questions and gave voice to calls by Republican lawmakers that the Northam administration was covering for the parole board. Those calls grew louder with release of an earlier draft of the report, this time unredacted, which leveled new accusations against members of the board.

The draft report and recording of an August meeting involving State Inspector General Michael Westfall and members of the governor’s staff were leaked to the media, drawing the administration’s ire. Northam then proposed a budget amendment to conduct an investigation, but was narrow in scope to only include the OSIG’s review and not the parole board’s action.

Lawmakers approved that measure earlier this month and the office of Attorney General Mark Herring announced Saturday that Nixon Peabody LLP had been hired to conduct the inquiry. That work should be illuminating but will not deal with the more pressing public concern — the parole board’s conduct.

Prominent Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment, Jr. of James City County, last week called on House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Rules Committee Chair Mamie Locke to convene a special session to appoint a bipartisan commission of lawmakers to investigate.

The question, of course, is whether this is a matter of political posturing or a genuine attempt to improve the policies and practices of the parole board.

So long as Virginia has a system of parole, decisions about who to release will be subject to disagreement. Some of those under consideration have committed abhorrent acts which must be weighed against their conduct in prison and the potential to make meaningful contributions to society following release.

If the question before Virginia is whether existing policies are functional and adequate, whether the board it operating as intended or whether the proper protocols are in place, then an inquiry into this subject can be a productive undertaking. It can lend confidence to the board’s decisions and the justice system in general.

Similarly, an examination of the OSIG might return useful information as well. That office was created less than a decade ago and there are still doubts about the effectiveness of consolidating the various inspector generals in the executive branch under one umbrella.

But if this is simply an exercise driven by retribution and partisanship — by the administration against the OSIG or by Republicans against the governor — then Virginia needn’t bother.

These are serious policy questions deserving of serious answers. If a bipartisan investigation can provide them, let it be launched quickly.

2021 Bad Bill List

April 27, 2021

Every wonder what elected officials and political candidates mean when they boldly claim that “elections have consequences”?

Well, here’s the truth folks: election do have consequences. If you don’t believe me, just peruse the list of bills below introduced by the liberal majority in Richmond.

Some passed, some didn’t, but all are damaging to our Commonwealth.

HB2263 | Status: Passed Abolishes death penalty

HB1904 | Status: Passed This bill requires teachers and principals to include evaluations of their respective “cultural competency.” Not only is “cultural competence” subjective in nature, this just creates more top down regulations to which teachers have to adhere.

HB2074 | Status: Defeated Creates the Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group and charges every state agency with developing a plan to “further environmental justice in the Commonwealth.” This will create more red tape for state agencies.

HB2250 | Status: Passed Prohibits the testing of cosmetics on animals. Prohibits sale of cosmetics manufactured using animal testing. This is just more regulations on businesses.

HB2295 | Status: Passed 2A bill – no guns in Capitol Square or any building that the Commonwealth leases. More attempts by the Democrats to limit gun possession.

HB2123 | Status: Passed Immigration bill – opens state aid for undocumented. This further increases rights for undocumented making Virginia more and more of a sanctuary state. 

HB2312 | Status: Passed Legalizes marijuana

HB2331 | Status: Defeated Liberal criminal justice bill – eliminates mandatory minimums. This is bad for victims. 

HJ555 | Status: Passed Liberal criminal justice bill – felons getting right to vote. 

HB1902 | Status: Passed Bans styrofoam from restaurants. This will hurt our restaurants in the long run with increased costs, etc. 

HB1992 | Status: Passed 2A bill – Convicted assault and battery felon can’t buy a gun. This is a lifetime ban, but it does have a process for getting the rights back, but it is also the first time a constitutional right is being restricted upon conviction of a misdemeanor.  We are restoring the right to vote for all felons automatically, but under this bill if you get in a shoving match with your college roommate, and are convicted of misdemeanor assault, you may be banned for the rest of your life from possession a firearm

HB2040 | Status: Passed Codifies Governor’s Executive Order allowing unemployment recipients to continue to receive benefits during their appeals process to determine eligibility. It waives any overpayments due to extensions of benefits during appeals process that is eventually denied or due to administrative error by VEC. Worth noting that there was $41 million paid to inmates in Virginia’s prisons and jails).

HB2130 | Status: Passed Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board established.

HB2262 | Status: Passed This bill expands rights of bicyclists and will cause safety problems particularly in allowing bicyclists to ride two abreast. 

HJ537 | Status: Passed Cancel culture bill – defines racism as public health crisis. 

SB1097 | Status: Passed Elections bill – removes witness sig for absentee ballots, making it easier for voter fraud to occur. 

SB1157 | Status: Passed Moves local elections to November making what should be nonpartisan, local issues focused candidacies hyper-partisan.

SB1261 | Status: Passed Court packing bill that expands the Court of Appeals from 11 to 17, allowing more left-leaning influence on the Court of Appeals. 

SB1276 | Status: Passed -Removes prohibition on abortion as an essential health benefit, significantly expanding access to abortion in Virginia.

Senator Obenshain Calls on Governor and NCAA to Relax Restrictions for College Football Games in the Commonwealth

April 21, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Jennifer Aulgur

PHONE: (540) 437-1451

EMAIL:  jennifer@markobenshain.com

Obenshain Calls on Governor and NCAA to Relax Restrictions for College Football Games in the Commonwealth

Restrictions Should be Amended in time for VMI v. JMU College Playoff Game this Weekend

HARRISONBURG, VA  – Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), issued the following statement regarding this weekend’s upcoming VMI v. JMU College Football Playoff game in Harrisonburg and the current restrictions with regard to attendance. 

“This weekend is a very exciting one for athletics in Virginia.  VMI will be playing in its first ever college football play-off game against JMU in the first round of the FCS College Playoffs.  Unfortunately, due to the Governor’s current edicts on capacity for outdoor sporting venues, and the more stringent restrictions set by the NCAA, very few fans from either school will even be able to attend this game.”

Governor Northam, via his fourth version of EO 72, limits attendance at outdoor sporting venues to 30% of stadium capacity. Furthermore, the NCAA is even more strict with a limit for football stadiums at 25% capacity.  The capacity of Bridgeforth Stadium at JMU is 25,000; and because of these limitations, only about 6,000 fans will be permitted to attend.

“I have strong ties to both great schools and I just want more fans from both schools to be able to show support. My grandfather was a member of the VMI Class of 1930, JMU is in my Senate district, where I was also a tuition-paying parent.  Invoking the same spirt that led Governor Mark Warner to fight for Virginia Tech to join UVA as a member of the ACC, I call on the Governor to go to bat today for JMU and VMI and to get more fans of both schools seated in that stadium on Saturday. The players have earned it.  They deserve to have more fans there to cheer them on in this game.  The Governor is a doctor and he knows it can be done safely! Maybe JMU even can find it in their hearts to allocate another great Virginia institution — VMI – a few more than 500 tickets it has been allocated out of the more 6,000 available.”

Obenshain concluded, “I call on the Governor, a graduate of VMI, to immediately loosen his arbitrary capacity restrictions for outdoor sporting venues.  Moreover, the NCAA has no business setting capacity restrictions in Virginia’s stadiums.  Nor should their limits be more restrictive that those established by state health officials.  Relax the limits and let more fans of both teams attend the game on Saturday! The players and fans deserve it.”

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page Rappahannock and Rockingham (part). 

###

Shenandoah County supervisors could consider letter opposing LFCC name change

April 16, 2021

By Brad Fauber The Northern Virginia Daily | Apr 16, 2021

Shenandoah County’s Board of Supervisors could soon consider whether or not to issue a letter in opposition to the decision made by Lord Fairfax Community College leadership earlier this year to change the Frederick County school’s name.

Supervisors briefly discussed the topic during Tuesday’s meeting, with District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris suggesting they invite LFCC President Kim Blosser to their next meeting on April 27 to further discuss the name-change decision. Morris stated on Tuesday that Blosser had offered to meet with Shenandoah County supervisors to answer any questions they may have.

A vote on whether to issue a letter in opposition to the name change could take place during the Board of Supervisors’ May 11 meeting. Tuesday’s meeting agenda included copies of two letters opposing the name change sent to the State Board for Community Colleges: one signed by Virginia state senators Mark Obenshain and Jill Vogel and delegates Todd Gilbert, Michael Webert, David LaRock, Bill Wiley and Mark Cole, and another by the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors.

LFCC, located in Middletown, announced in February that it was seeking a new name because its namesake – Thomas, the 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron – was a Colonial-era slave owner. The school’s decision, according to the Winchester Star, followed months of study and focus-group discussions and was prompted by a resolution passed last summer by the State Board for Community Colleges asking all community colleges in the state to review their names.

To begin Tuesday’s discussion on the LFCC name change, Shenandoah County supervisors heard a 17-minute speech from film director Ron Maxwell, who lives in Rappahannock County and directed the Civil War films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals,” and who called on Shenandoah County supervisors to join those in Rappahannock County in formally opposing LFCC’s decision.

Maxwell stated during his speech that society is witnessing an “exhibition of the woke trying to outdo one another in the woke sweepstakes” and that “history teaches us that each and every time the righteous urge to destroy is loosed upon a society, it is always cloaked as an improvement and is in every case regretted and deplored by subsequent generations.”

Maxwell further added that an “inescapable fact of history is that we … are the inheritors of all who came before, and that “as inheritors of this legacy it is our responsibility, in our brief moment on Earth, to safeguard the entirety of our past with all its content, art and history, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful,” and that “to live only in the present tense is to live an impoverished life.”

“It is incumbent upon us, the living, to see people as they once were, in their full humanity … just as it’s incumbent upon our descendents 240 years from now to look on us the same way,” Maxwell said. “Otherwise, we have no culture, no history, no heritage, no shared humanity. We are simply set adrift, floating on an imaginary foundation made up of little more than this thin air of our own puritanical rectitude and moral narcissism.

“By the standards of the Lord Fairfax college board,” he continued, “we will soon embark on a renaming crusade as cities, counties, towns, parks, roads, schools and institutions of higher learning named after any of the generation who founded this country are removed and replaced one-by-one.”

Also on Tuesday, Shenandoah County supervisors discussed an amendment to the board’s meeting rules of procedure that would revise language in the order of business pertaining to the public comment section so that it matches a subsequent section in the rules that prohibit “public presentations on a matter for which a public hearing has been or will be held.” The public comment section in the order of business currently reads “Public Comment (other than matters previously the subject of a public hearing).”

The proposed amendment stems from the March 23 meeting during which Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Baker prohibited public comments on the fiscal year 2022 budget, citing the public hearing on the matter scheduled for the following week.

– Contact Brad Fauber at bfauber@nvdaily.com

Veto Session Wrap Up

April 8, 2021

Dear Friends,

As you may or may not know, a few weeks after Session ends each year, my fellow Senators and I gather for a one-day meeting called Reconvene Session. On this day, we vote yea or nay on any bills for which the Governor offered amendments and vote to overturn any bills he vetoed.

This year because Democrats in Richmond passed so many of his liberal priorities and defeated so many of the bills we sought to implement as conservatives, the Governor did not veto a single bill. 

However, he did offer amendments to a few bills, perhaps most significantly the bill to legalize recreational marijuana. 

Let me be clear, I remain opposed to the legalization of marijuana. 

And the fact that the legalization under this bill would not take place until 2024 did not change my opinion. That is why I was appalled when Governor Northam – in a fashion all too similar to the arbitrary and dictatorial way he yielded his authority during the COVID shutdown – decided to amend the bill to move legalization up to July of 2021 – yes, that is THIS July, less than 90 days from now. He bucked all the input and research that went into the 8,000-line bill, that his office actually crafted, he reversed course and determined that legalization should occur immediately. 

As if that was not bad enough, he slipped 4 lines of language into the bill that are wholly unrelated to this topic to throw a bone to the job-killing, left wing organized labor interests from whom he has received millions of campaign dollars. 

These are 4 lines provide that licensees who grow, manufacture or sell marijuana products will lose their licenses if they do not “remain neutral” in response to efforts of union organizers to unionize their businesses or if they do not pay a “prevailing wage” dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is even worse than it sounds, as these businesses can be shut down if they block union organizers from trespassing on their property to solicit employees in their organizational efforts. This is a serious infringement upon the property rights of farmers and other business owners and it undermines Virginia’s status as a right-to-work state. 

Licensure of marijuana businesses was supposed to be a means of ensuring the safety of marijuana products being grown, manufactured and sold to the public — not a tool to force the unionization of the work force. 

Requiring business owners to allow union organizers to trespass on their property to solicit their employees has become a hot-button issue for right-to-work and property rights advocates. Only two weeks ago an appeal brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of a California nursery owner was argued in the United States Supreme Court. There, union organizers trespassed on the business’s property asserting it as their right under a California state law that allows private-sector unions to come onto private property for three hours a day, 120 days out of the year, to recruit workers into joining their ranks. The language slipped into Virginia’s marijuana bill may be even more intrusive and disruptive. I hope that the Supreme Court will rule for the California businesses. For more information on that case click here

This bill is bad and this amendment is bad. Period. 

The Senate voted 20-20 and Justin Fairfax, the Lieutenant Governor and Democratic candidate for Governor, made the tie-breaking vote to pass these amendments.  Remember when Democrats and certain editorial pages urged Virginians to vote against the Constitutional Amendment to place Right to Work in our Constitution arguing that nobody wants to undermine our right to work laws? This action demonstrates the falsity of those assertions. 

In other news from yesterday’s session, the Democrats predictably voted to adopt the Governor’s $250,000 budget amendment to hire outside counsel to do a very limited and partisan “investigation” in response to the Parole Board scandal. The “investigation,” of course is a sham. It authorizes an investigation of the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG), not the Parole Board.  What is needed is a real investigation; one that covers all of the widely reported incidents of Parole Board misconduct, the targeting and firing of the OSIG whistleblower, as well as the involvement, if any, of members of the offices of the Governor or the Attorney General in a cover-up.  Instead, now we will end up with a sham “investigation” that is nothing more than window-dressing designed to divert public attention from this serious and potentially dangerous breach of public trust.  For more on this you can read the Senate GOP Caucus statement below and the RTD story from last night here

As we conclude the 2021 Session, I will continue to fight for our shared conservative values and freedoms – support our small businesses, and our right-to-work laws. I support a strong and fair criminal justice system that keeps our communities safe while showing respect to victims, and those in law enforcement. It is an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of the 26th Senate District. 

I’m back in my district office in Harrisonburg and look forward to serving my constituents on state government related issues.  Please feel free to contact me at 540-437-1451 or at mark@markobenshain.com .

Best,

Mark Obenshain

Parole Board Controversy Will Get Independent Investigation

April 8, 2021

By JAHD KHALIL  APR 8, 2021

Legislators approved a budget amendment funding an independent investigation into the Office of the State Inspector General Wednesday, as Republican lawmakers said the investigation’s scope sidestepped critical issues.ListenListening…1:17Jahd Khalil reports

The growing controversy stems from the inspector general’s office investigation of the process used by the parole board to grant parole to Vincent Martin, a man convicted of killing a police officer. Leaks later revealed a report to the governor was missing violations the inspector general included in an earlier draft. After a whistleblower filed a complaint, she was fired. She then sued the office over the termination.

The budget amendment creating the investigation says the Attorney General’s office will pick the investigator. It will do that with input from the Governor’s office and leadership from the General Assembly. The investigation will cost $250,000.

The House of Delegates approved the investigation on a party line vote. Before they did, accusations flew.

“This investigation – this so-called investigation – does not investigate anything about the parole board at all. It investigates the inspector general’s office,” said Delegate Todd Gilbert, the leader of House Republicans.”

Republicans want the inquiry to focus on the parole board itself, rather than the inspector general’s investigation of the parole board.

“We need to look at it all and let the chips fall where they may,” said Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg. “I think there’ve been somewhere near a dozen different investigations. But what this does is says, ‘we’re going to spend $250,000 looking at one, one single investigation by the office of the inspector general,’ and that’s of the Vincent Martin case.”

Democratic Delegate Don Scott said Republicans’ arguments stem from their opposition to parole generally.

“In their soul they’re opposed to parole. They opposed to second chances,” he said. He went on to say that they sought to politicise the issue. “They’ve told you that every time this is their election issue”

The Virginia Senate also approved the amendment after a much longer debate which included a lengthy debate over a parliamentary process in order to amend the provision to create their own investigatory committee.

Investigators will need to submit a written report by June 15th, 2021.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Democrats reject broad parole board probe in favor of limited investigation

April 8, 2021

By PATRICK WILSON Richmond Times-Dispatch | Apr 8, 2021

Democrats who control the General Assembly rejected a plan for a bipartisan special committee to investigate wrongdoing at the Virginia Parole Board, opting on Wednesday to fund a limited investigation into controversy involving one case.

The limited investigation authorizes Attorney General Mark Herring, in consultation with Gov. Ralph Northam and other Democratic leaders, to choose a law firm to investigate how and why allegations of wrongdoing at the parole board were not included in one state watchdog report last year. The cost could be up to $250,000.

Senate Republicans pushed to create a special committee with subpoena power to investigate the bigger picture of an ongoing scandal involving the parole board. That proposal died on a partisan vote of 21-19, but Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, asked detailed questions about the plan and said there may come a time when such a committee is necessary.

Republicans — led by Sens. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg, and Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham — said a bipartisan investigation would be open and transparent, while the proposal from Northam for a limited investigation would be done under a contract with the attorney general’s office, and records would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, said a special committee would require too much work by lawmakers. “I didn’t sign up to be in a full-time legislature,” he said. And the governor’s proposal, he said, was exactly the investigation that had been requested.

But the investigation the General Assembly approved directs a law firm to look into how the Office of the State Inspector General investigated only one case involving the parole board.

“The scope is nowhere near correct,” said Newman, who warned there would come a day when a fuller investigation will be needed.

Republicans in the House and Senate brought up things that the investigation won’t go into, like allegations that the former parole board chairwoman released more than 100 parolees from supervision unilaterally and without any recommendation, and that she had notifications turned off for the surrogate grandmother of a murder victim when the killer was going to be paroled.

“We were told that we would have a full investigation into the parole board matter,” said House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. “Madam Speaker, you and I both know that something is very rotten at the parole board. We know this because we got a full packet of information from a whistleblower about what is going on.”

Lawmakers debated the issue Wednesday when they convened to consider the governor’s amendments to legislation passed earlier this year.

The ongoing scandal began last year when the Office of the State Inspector General began finding misconduct by the parole board. OSIG completed reports saying the parole board and its former chairwoman, Adrianne Bennett, now a judge in Virginia Beach, violated state law and policy, including at times not notifying the family of victims that convicted killers were being paroled.

The lead OSIG investigator, Jennifer Moschetti, provided records to lawmakers earlier this year and filed a lawsuit acknowledging she had done so and asking for whistleblower protection.

Some of the records that were obtained by news media, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, related to the parole board’s release last year of Vincent Martin, who was convicted in the 1979 killing of a Richmond police officer. While the final OSIG report was six pages, a longer report of 13 pages — apparently a draft — contained more allegations of wrongdoing.

Moschetti’s lawsuit accused Herring’s office of sanitizing the report and said the governor’s staff was so intimidating in a meeting with OSIG about the case that Inspector General Michael Westfall feared for his job.

Westfall reports to the governor, who appoints the five members of the parole board.

The attorney general and governor’s office deny those allegations. Westfall fired Moschetti, who then dropped her lawsuit. But several OSIG investigations of the parole board apparently remain pending, and it’s unclear if Westfall plans to complete them.

The probe approved by lawmakers relates to how OSIG looked into the parole board’s handling of the Martin investigation.

Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, said he reached out to Northam’s general counsel, Rita Davis, and she wrote back to tell him what the investigation will cover.

An independent third party will look into whether the final inspector general report on the Martin case resulted from normal office practices or from any undue political influence, and it should determine the reasons OSIG omitted some material in its final report, Levine said.

The investigator should determine whether OSIG substantiated the allegations in the longer Martin report that were not included in the final report, he said.

A report is supposed to be completed by June 15.

The parole board and marijuana dominated Wednesday’s debates, but the assembly also approved all of Northam’s 18 proposed amendments to the two-year state budget.

Several of the amendments addressed potential uses of federal COVID-19 emergency aid — primarily for Medicaid and child care — until the General Assembly meets in special session later this year to determine how Virginia will spend billions of dollars in funding under the American Rescue Plan Act enacted on March 11.

pwilson@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6061

Twitter: @patrickmwilson

Staff writer Michael Martz contributed to this report.